If you follow me on Twitter (and if you don't, you should) you may have noticed a few odd tweets lately.
A more-frequent-than-usual mention of tears.
An increase in the number of F-bombs deployed in my tweets.
My friends checking in on me and expressing concern about my general welfare.
There's a reason for that. A reason I haven't shared until now because I didn't know how to bring it up, and also because I was embarrassed to admit I was struggling. I'm supposed to be a badass, you know, affected by nothing. Wonder Woman doesn't cry over stuff, right?
So here's what happened. On May 6th, all of us dispatchers got called into a mandatory meeting, which is never a good thing, but it's particularly worrisome when you pull into the parking lot and see the vehicles of the Chief, the Deputy Chief, and the entire Union Executive Board. Uh-oh. Time to panic.
The Chief dropped the bombshell: all nine of us communications officers are being laid off due to budget cuts and dispatch services are being shipped out to another agency. Time frame? Ninety days or so.
And the metaphorical rug went whoosh! right out from underneath me.
I've never been a person who makes long-range plans, who counts on things always staying the same, who does things like set up retirement accounts and college funds for my as-yet-unborn grandchildren. But a couple of years ago, when I turned 45, I thought maybe it was time to Become A Grown-Up. Yeah, at 45. I'm something of a late bloomer, folks. So I started saving money like crazy and paying extra on my mortgage and my car payment, and not using credit cards, and thinking about things like Return On Investment and Risk-Reward, all with an eye towards retiring at 60 and getting a part-time job that doesn't involve talking to people who are bleeding to death. All of this was based on having a job at a fire department with the best salary and benefits in the Kansas City Metro area.
And then the rug went whoosh!
I did not handle this well. Not at all. I handled it so poorly that I was very nearly sent home from work that night, but I convinced my supervisor that I was probably better off at work than at home all alone. The next day I curled up in bed for 14 hours during which I alternately cried, slept, and ate Haagen Dazs off the same spoon as the dog.
And of course, my first reaction, predictably, involved the house and went something like this: wtf am I doing tearing off a perfectly good porch just because I don't like it and spending thousands of dollars to build a new one when I'm not gonna have a job in three months because that's just insane. Then I got better. Then I panicked. Then I decided that I really can make my house payment (barely) off the salary at QuikTrip. Then I spent half a day curled up in bed crying. Then I got pissed off and threw a hammer across the yard. At some point in the middle of all that, my best friend's mom was LifeFlighted to a neuro center after a stroke, and several bad days of missing White Trash Bob all glommed up on me at once and I bawled like a little kid when Mare asked me if I had a bigger prybar (I said "I can just run over to Bob's house and--oh."), and my favorite ex (The Big Indian, who some of y'all might remember) took a turn for the worse with his Afghanistan-induced TBI and PTSD so I camped out at his house to keep him from checking out permanently. Because I like having my emotional plate heaped high, apparently.
There is hopeful news: today we learned that our last day here is September 2nd, which is of course bittersweet, but at least now we know; a few days ago I learned that I've reached the background check portion of the hiring process for an area police department and that I'm their first choice; both my best friend's mom and The Big Indian are doing much better; and the Fire Board agreed to give us two months' salary as severance.
At some point, and I can't really tell you when that was, I decided that there's no way up or over or around this situation and the only thing to do is just to keep walking straight ahead and through it until I come out on the other side of it somehow. Because I will get through this. I will come out on the other side of it. Somehow. Just don't ask me for specifics because I will lose my schidt again and cry, and I am an ugly crier.